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Asian Stocks Mixed, Weaker US Dollar Weighs on Nikkei

Asian Stocks Mixed, Weaker US Dollar Weighs on Nikkei

2017-02-22 06:57:00
David Cottle, Analyst
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Talking Points:

  • Asia’s session was rather lackluster for Asian stocks, which ended mixed
  • Hopes for expansive US fiscal policy remain high, but news on the subject is scant
  • A weaker US Dollar made Nikkei gains tough

Wednesday’s session was mixed and rather directionless for Asian stocks. The hopeful wait for economic policy details out of the US was still a main theme but, with no concrete news from this quarter, local stories were driving.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 traded down 0.2%, although Toshiba stocks rose 11%, taking back some ground following Tuesday’s rout. That came on news that it was looking to raise $8.8 billion following losses in its US nuclear business. Overall though a moderately weaker US Dollar hit the index, as it often does.

Australia’s ASX 200 reversed early losses to close up, but just by 0.1%. Miner BHP Billiton ended lower after a profit-driven Tuesday gain. Commonwealth Bank of Australia continued to weigh on the key financials sub-index following allegations that it owes millions of dollars to part-time employees.

Hong Kong stocks inched up, helped by upbeat growth comments from one of its finance ministers, but mainland Chinese shares slipped back. On the data front there was a weaker-than-expected Australian construction report, but the Australian Dollar shrugged it off. It had been supported earlier by Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe. Responding to questions in Sydney, he said he doubted that more rate cuts were a sensible response.

The pace of house price gains in China moderated, as the authorities have hoped they might. But they didn’t moderate by much and regional hotspots such as Beijing and Shanghai are still simmering.

Crude oil prices remained around multi-week highs, after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries signaled more optimism about its deal with other producers to curb output.

The US Dollar lost ground in Asia as investors awaited the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest meeting for clues as to the pace of interest rate hikes. The minutes aside, the remainder of Wednesday’s session offers UK growth data, Germany’s IFO business survey, Eurozone consumer price numbers and the US existing home sales report.

Would you like to know more about financial market trading? DailyFX has a free trading guide.

--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Contact and follow David on Twitter: @DavidCottleFX

DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.

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